Thailand Supermarket Goes Viral for Its Genius Way to Reduce Plastic Packaging
One supermarket in Thailand has made waves online for using banana leaves to package its vegetable produce.
The vegetable section of Rimping Supermarket in Chiang Mai has gone viral after being featured in a Facebook post of real estate company Perfect Home last March 21.
The post has garnered over 6,500 likes and 15,363 shares as of writing, with some netizens tagging their own local supermarkets to follow suit.
One Bianca Christine Cottle tagged Australian supermarkets Coles and Woolsworths to take note of the concept: “Some great ideas on how to wrap #plasticfreeproduce. Could this be suitable for your organic lines?”
The use of banana leaves instead of plastic for packaging vegetables is a great way to reduce single-use plastic. While it looks like they use some plastic for adhering the label, this method significantly reduces the amount of plastic required.
They are simply wrapped in a banana leaf and secured using a rubber band. Banana leaves are a great alternative to plastic as the leaf is large, thick and supple enough to be folded.
The use of banana leaves as packaging is far from new, with Asians, Latin Americans, and Hawaiians using them for cooking, eating and wrapping food. Besides being biodegradable, banana leaves have other benefits, such as adding flavor and an artistic touch to food.
As mentioned in Forbes, one thing to consider is the relative cost of plastic versus banana leaves. In tropical locations, banana leaves are readily available locally and could be acquired for free depending on the quantity needed.
In more temperate locations the use of banana leaves could be significantly more expensive than plastic. However, using local biodegradable products could be a good alternative in locations where bananas don't grow.
The Philippines and Thailand are some of the world’s top plastic polluters, as per Greenpeace. According to Inquirer, Philippine local governments have taken steps to reduce plastic waste with bans on materials such as plastic bags, plastic bottles and plastic utensils. It seems another step which could be taken is to look at materials readily available in the country to find alternatives to plastic.